The Koh-i-Noor is the world’s most famous diamond, but it has always had a fog of mystery around it. Now, using previously untranslated Sanskrit, Persian and Urdu sources, and the discoveries of modern gemologists to reconstruct its original form, William Dalrymple and Anita Anand blow away the legends to reveal its true history – stranger, and more violent, than any fiction. Kohinoor is not only a tale of greed, conquest, murder, torture, colonialism and appropriation, through centuries of South and Central Asian history, but also a history of changing fashions in jewellery, and the role, alchemy and astrology of precious stones. Revealing previously unknown moments in the diamond’s history, the story sweeps from the century the Koh-i-Noor spent embedded in the Mughal’s fabulous Peacock Throne to the years it languished unrecognized on a mullah’s desk, used as a paperweight, through to the torture chamber where a Persian prince was crowned in molten lead in an attempt to extract the truth about the gem’s hiding place. Once worn on Ranjit Singh’s turban, Duleep Singh’s armband and Queen Victoria’s crown, it is now locked in the Tower of London, where it continues to arouse passions, as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Taliban all demand its return.